During the first White House press briefing of 2019, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called on Democrats to “get serious” about securing the border to prevent another partial government shutdown.
President Donald Trump signed an agreement to end the record-breaking partial government shutdown on Friday. However, this doesn’t mean that the government couldn’t re-enter a partial shutdown. The deal signed Friday has a deadline of February 15, and neither Trump nor House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has signaled they are willing to budge on their positions.
As IJR reported earlier, Trump told the Wall Street Journal that another shutdown is “certainly an option.”
In her briefing with the press, Sanders further elaborated Trump’s point, noting that a wall is the goal of the negotiations with Democrats, not a shutdown.
Watch the video below:
"The president doesn't want to go through another shutdown," press sec. Sanders tells @jonkarl.
"Ideally Democrats would take the next three weeks to negotiate in good faith, as they've indicated that they would, and come up with a deal that makes sense." https://t.co/MRx9YDQebn pic.twitter.com/fttiQUFIGS
— ABC News (@ABC) January 28, 2019
“The president doesn’t want to go through another shutdown. That’s not the goal. The goal is border security and protecting the American people. Ideally, Democrats would take these next three weeks to negotiate in good faith, as they’ve indicated that they would, and come up with a deal that makes sense, that actually fixes the problem so we don’t have to go through that process.”
Sanders further explained that the focus shouldn’t be on the shutdown. Rather, the focus should remain on securing the border.
“The president is committed to fixing the problem,” Sanders explained. “It’s pretty simple. We have three weeks to work with Democrats. As the president has indicated on a number of occasions, they could get this done in 15 minutes. We agree on the fundamentals that border security is important. We agree on the fact that there is a problem and we should do something about it.”
While she seemed optimistic, she ultimately acknowledged that it would take a major shift for Pelosi and company to get on board with Trump’s request for $5.7 billion to go toward a physical barrier.
“The president’s opened the government on the basis that Democrats have signaled to us that they’re willing to actually get serious about a real deal and get serious about fixing the problem at the border, including funding for a border wall,” Sanders said.
Although Sanders claimed that a long-term deal could be struck in 15 minutes, it isn’t likely. The two sides have until February 15 to sign a funding bill or the partial shutdown will resume.